Is Your Novel Manuscript Dead On Arrival?

Approved & Edited by ProProfs Editorial Team
The editorial team at ProProfs Quizzes consists of a select group of subject experts, trivia writers, and quiz masters who have authored over 10,000 quizzes taken by more than 100 million users. This team includes our in-house seasoned quiz moderators and subject matter experts. Our editorial experts, spread across the world, are rigorously trained using our comprehensive guidelines to ensure that you receive the highest quality quizzes.
Learn about Our Editorial Process
| By Superheronation
S
Superheronation
Community Contributor
Quizzes Created: 4 | Total Attempts: 105,322
Questions: 32 | Attempts: 11,642

SettingsSettingsSettings
Is Your Novel Manuscript Dead On Arrival? - Quiz

Measuring a person’s degree of awesomeness is no easy task as we are all awesome in our own way. Do you consider yourself to be shining in pure awesomeness or have people said you are awesome? If so, then all you have to do is take up the quiz and see if we agree with your view for yourself. Have fun!


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    Which of the following is least important in the opening pages of a novel?

    • A.

      Establishing the main conflict

    • B.

      Detailed physical descriptions of all characters

    • C.

      Setting the tone

    • D.

      Introducing the protagonist

    Correct Answer
    B. Detailed physical descriptions of all characters
    Explanation
    While character development is important, focusing too much on detailed physical descriptions in the opening pages can detract from more crucial elements like establishing the main conflict, setting the tone, and introducing the protagonist.

    Rate this question:

  • 2. 

    In your story, do you ever describe how a character looks by having him glance at his own reflection? (This usually involves a mirror, a puddle or a weapon). 

    • A.

      Yes.

    • B.

      No.

    Correct Answer
    B. No.
    Explanation
    Publishers hate it when you try to describe what the narrator looks like by having him narrate himself looking at his reflection. It's cheesy and usually stalls the flow of the story. Making this mistake will probably get your manuscript instantly rejected.

    Rate this question:

  • 3. 

    Pretend that this man is one of the characters in your story. Which of the following details is worth mentioning to the reader?

    • A.

      His green eyes.

    • B.

      His brown hair.

    • C.

      Both of the above.

    • D.

      None of the above.

    Correct Answer
    D. None of the above.
    Explanation
    Typically, color does not show us very much interesting about the character. OK, so your character has green eyes instead of blue or brown. So what? Try to focus on details that capture the character's choices and lifestyle. For example, instead of focusing on his hair-color (which he has no control over), mention the way he wears his hair. That suggests something about his attitude and environment. Also, his tight suit and geeky glasses and smile suggest something about his job, mood and education. If we gave him a Rush t-shirt instead and a sloppy haircut, he'd look like a much different character.

    Rate this question:

  • 4. 

    Which of the following is a common sign that your novel manuscript may need significant revision before submitting it to publishers?  

    • A.

      The plot lacks clear direction and purpose

    • B.

      The characters are well-developed and relatable

    • C.

      The pacing of the story is consistent and engaging

    • D.

      The manuscript has been thoroughly proofread and edited

    Correct Answer
    A. The plot lacks clear direction and purpose
    Explanation
    A manuscript where the plot lacks clear direction and purpose is a common sign that it may need significant revision. A strong, coherent plot is crucial for engaging readers and keeping them interested. Well-developed characters, consistent pacing, and thorough proofreading are indicators of a manuscript that is closer to being ready for submission.

    Rate this question:

  • 5. 

    What aspect of a novel's first chapter is crucial to prevent it from being immediately rejected by publishers? 

    • A.

      Excessive backstory

    • B.

      A compelling opening hook

    • C.

      Descriptions of weather 

    • D.

      Introduction of all main characters

    Correct Answer
    B. A compelling opening hook
    Explanation
    A strong opening hook in the first chapter is essential to grab the reader's attention and ensure they want to continue reading. Excessive backstory and other details can often bog down the opening and deter engagement.

    Rate this question:

  • 6. 

    By the end of page three, do we know what the main character's name is? 

    • A.

      No. I don't introduce the main character in the first three pages.

    • B.

      No. I only refer to the character as something like "the detective" or "the knight." I'll surprise readers by revealing the character's name.

    • C.

      Yes.

    Correct Answer
    C. Yes.
    Explanation
    First, you should introduce your main character quickly. Three pages is a good rule of thumb. Second, it is a really bad idea to try to surprise readers with a character's name. When we finally find out that the hero's name is Linda, we're not going to be pleasantly surprised so much as ANGRY that you waited 150 pages to tell us her name.

    Rate this question:

  • 7. 

    Each of your characters should have at least one interesting trait. Do you consider attractive, strong, weak, young, old, brave, magical or Elven to be interesting character traits?

    • A.

      Yes.

    • B.

      "But magical elves are interesting!" Minus two.

    • C.

      No.

    Correct Answer
    C. No.
    Explanation
    These traits don't have a lot of dramatic potential. Typically, an interesting trait will show us more about the character than his demographics (young, old or Elven) or his capabilities (strong, brave or magical).

    Rate this question:

  • 8. 

    Does the narrator or POV character hide critical information from readers just to “surprise” us? 

    • A.

      Yes.

    • B.

      No.

    Correct Answer
    B. No.
    Explanation
    Generally, the reader is entitled to everything the point-of-view character knows. If you try to hide crucial information (like that the narrator was actually the killer all along, or that everyone is a squirrel), you will get rejected.

    Rate this question:

  • 9. 

    Does your first sentence use any pronouns?  If so, please make sure that you aren't withholding crucial information. Chances are that it will come off as obnoxious rather than intriguing. 

    • A.

      Yes.

    • B.

      No.

    Correct Answer
    B. No.
    Explanation
    If the first sentence has pronouns, the author is probably withholding valuable information. For example, look at the opening sentence "Until it happened, I had no idea how badly they had screwed me." The narrator is obviously hiding what "it" and "they" are. The sentence would be much more interesting if we rewrote it to "Until the dragon's face burst into a gooey mess, I had no idea how badly Adventurers, Inc. had screwed me." Specifics are generally much more interesting than meaningless pronouns.

    Rate this question:

  • 10. 

    Do many sentences start with empty interjections?  Some common offenders are well, you know, like, yeah, oh, umm, I mean and seriously. 

    • A.

      Yeah... I mean, uhh, how could you avoid them, y'know? Seriously!

    • B.

      No.

    Correct Answer
    B. No.
    Explanation
    If you can remove these interjections, please do so. In most cases, they don't add anything positive and they make the narrator or speaker feel like he's wasting time. They may be acceptable for occasional pauses in dialogue, but please be sparing.

    Rate this question:

  • 11. 

    Do your characters use niceties or other polite filler?  For example, "can I get you a drink?" is a nicety.

    • A.

      Yes.

    • B.

      No.

    Correct Answer
    B. No.
    Explanation
    Niceties are problematic because they rarely advance the plot or show us anything interesting about the characters. Generally, they just waste time and annoy readers.

    Rate this question:

  • 12. 

    Do any of your characters have an apostrophe or a dash in their name?

    • A.

      Yes.

    • B.

      No.

    Correct Answer
    B. No.
    Explanation
    Names with punctuation marks are almost always awkward and frequently cause readers to stumble.

    Rate this question:

  • 13. 

    Are any characters cryptic?  (For example, do they hide information for no reason except that you want the story to keep going?)  

    • A.

      Yes, my story has a cryptic character.

    • B.

      Yes, but it's OK because he's enigmatic, mysterious and cool. (Ick. Minus three).

    • C.

      No.

    Correct Answer
    C. No.
    Explanation
    It's not cool or mysterious for characters to withhold information when they don't have a good in-story reason for doing so; it's just annoying.

    Rate this question:

  • 14. 

    Does your story have any Mary Sues?  (A Mary Sue is a superpowered and idealized version of the author.  One warning sign is that your main character goes through the book without doing anything you intend the audience to disapprove of.  Another warning sign is that the character tends to get everything right on her first try). 

    • A.

      Yes.

    • B.

      No.

    Correct Answer
    B. No.
    Explanation
    Unfortunately, most people aren't interesting enough to engross an audience. If you want to write about yourself, please write an autobiography. Keeping yourself out of your fiction will improve your writing because you will have a better perspective of how your readers will see the character. It will also keep your work from feeling like a wish-fulfillment fantasy.

    Rate this question:

  • 15. 

    Over the course of the book, does anyone disagree with or oppose your main character without coming off as nasty, evil or stupid? 

    • A.

      No.

    • B.

      No, because my main character is so heroic that you'd have to be evil or stupid to disagree with him. (Minus two!)

    • C.

      Yes.

    Correct Answer
    C. Yes.
    Explanation
    Generally, readers like moral complexity. A morally complex hero might not be on the right side of every issue. That's fine. Readers will like that better than a perfect hero because it's more realistic and relatable.

    Rate this question:

  • 16. 

    (This question only applies if your main character gets romantically involved with someone).  Please list three characteristics that make the hero's lover an interesting character.  Did you use any of the following traits? 

    • A.

      Sweet.

    • B.

      Beautiful (or attractive or handsome).

    • C.

      High-class.

    • D.

      All three! It's like you're reading my mind.

    • E.

      None of the above / the question isn't applicable.

    Correct Answer
    E. None of the above / the question isn't applicable.
    Explanation
    Characters that are mainly sweet, attractive and/or upper-class are usually not very interesting. Those are superficial characteristics that often make the character into a trophy rather than an actual, breathing person. If you flesh out the love-interest by giving him or her more to work with, the character will get more interesting and we will care more about whether the romance works out.

    Rate this question:

  • 17. 

    (This question only applies if the main character gets romantically involved with someone).  Why does your hero fall in love with that character instead of someone else?

    • A.

      Because (s)he is beautiful / handsome.

    • B.

      Because (s)he is the important female (or male) character in the story.

    • C.

      Because (s)he is royalty or high-class.

    • D.

      All of the above. It's like you're reading my mind again!

    • E.

      None of the above / not applicable.

    Correct Answer
    E. None of the above / not applicable.
    Explanation
    Romances are most effective when there is a strong in-story reason for why the main character falls in love with the love-interest. If it's just because the love-interest is beautiful, we won't care whether or not the guy gets the girl (or vice versa).

    Rate this question:

  • 18. 

    Are any of the main characters the subject of a great prophecy?

    • A.

      Yes.

    • B.

      No.

    Correct Answer
    B. No.
    Explanation
    If your character is destined for greatness, he's probably a Chosen One. Let him make his own destiny. Also, great prophecies are really cliche.

    Rate this question:

  • 19. 

    Do you use any invented or foreign words when English equivalents are available?

    • A.

      Yes, because it's dramatic to call Elven soldiers sjweu'pas. (Minus two!)

    • B.

      Yes.

    • C.

      No.

    Correct Answer
    C. No.
    Explanation
    Using made-up words will confuse and irritate readers. If it's remotely possible to use an English word, please do so.

    Rate this question:

  • 20. 

    What key element in your novel manuscript could cause it to be considered "Dead on Arrival" if not effectively executed?

    • A.

      Detailed descriptions of settings 

    • B.

      Minor character development 

    • C.

      A compelling opening hook

    • D.

      An extensive glossary of terms

    Correct Answer
    C. A compelling opening hook
    Explanation
    For a novel manuscript to grab the attention of readers and publishers from the outset, a compelling opening hook is crucial. If the manuscript begins without engaging the reader or lacks a strong initial appeal, it might be dismissed or considered "Dead on Arrival." While details such as settings and character development are important, the lack of an intriguing hook can prevent the manuscript from progressing in the hands of agents and publishers. An extensive glossary is less critical to the initial impact and can be viewed as supplementary material rather than a core manuscript element.

    Rate this question:

  • 21. 

    Does your story use real-world brand-names?

    • A.

      Yes

    • B.

      Yes, but it's not a problem. Everyone in the world knows the difference between a Wal-Mart and a Target. (Minus two!)

    • C.

      No.

    Correct Answer
    C. No.
    Explanation
    Using brand-names tends to limit the appeal of your story to a particular region and time. It's also usually a lazy way to write. For example, instead of saying a character is rich, you might say he shops at DKNY rather than Walmart, but it is more powerful to describe the clothing itself rather than relying on a brandname. For example, someone replaces his clothes every season "to be current" is wealthy. In contrast, someone that wears his shoes until the soles burn out is demonstrably poor. In contrast, by using a brand-name, you're betting that the vast majority of your readers will know what you're referring to. Even if that's true now, will it be true in 10 or 20 years?

    Rate this question:

  • 22. 

    Do you use any made-up words in your title or opening paragraph?  (Some examples: Narnia, Muggle, Hogwarts, Voldemort and Aslan). 

    • A.

      Yes.

    • B.

      No.

    Correct Answer
    B. No.
    Explanation
    Made-up words tend to confuse and overwhelm readers rather than intrigue them. If your story uses made-up words very early on, publishers will take that as a sign that you don't pace very well. (Also, they are particularly ineffective in titles).

    Rate this question:

  • 23. 

    Does your title consist of just one word?

    • A.

      Yes.

    • B.

      No.

    Correct Answer
    B. No.
    Explanation
    One-word titles are almost always weak. Generally using 2-6 words is more effective. Isn't there some interesting detail you can add that will help pique our interest?

    Rate this question:

  • 24. 

    Do your fight scenes ever last for more than 5 pages at a time?

    • A.

      Yes.

    • B.

      No.

    Correct Answer
    B. No.
    Explanation
    High-intensity scenes like fights tend to wear out their welcome pretty quickly. If you need more than 1500 words to tell a fight scene, it's probably monotonous.

    Rate this question:

  • 25. 

    Do your fight scenes ever include more than 4 combatants?

    • A.

      Yes.

    • B.

      No.

    Correct Answer
    B. No.
    Explanation
    Compared to a movie, it's extremely difficult to write a fight scene with many combatants. It's hard enough to describe what three fighters are doing at once, let alone six or ten. If you'd like to use many fighters, I recommend breaking it into a series of 2-3 person duels rather than a single battle royale. Also, if you think that your fight has to have many fighters to be epic, you may be better suited for screenwriting than novel-writing.

    Rate this question:

  • 26. 

    Do the dialogues in your story read like transcripts?  (If you're not sure, flip to a random dialogue in your story.  Do you neglect elements like body language, atmospherics, nonverbal cues, props and scenery?)

    • A.

      Yes, it reads like a transcript.

    • B.

      Yes, it *is* a transcript. (Minus two! It's never as clever as it seems).

    • C.

      No.

    Correct Answer
    C. No.
    Explanation
    A dialogue that feels like a transcript isn't very immersive. Adding nonverbal details will make the dialogue feel fuller and more interesting.

    Rate this question:

  • 27. 

    Have you justified any answers on this test by saying that "but it worked for James Joyce!" or some other super-talented author? 

    • A.

      Yes.

    • B.

      Yes. But Michael Crichton used one-word titles. I can, too! (Minus two).

    • C.

      No.

    Correct Answer
    C. No.
    Explanation
    Bestselling and classic authors have a preestablished credibility with their audience that you do not. For example, readers will start reading a Michael Crichton book even if it has a terrible one-word title. They probably won't extend you the same courtesy.

    Rate this question:

  • 28. 

    Thesauruses are both useful and dangerous.  Does your book use any sentences like "John sashayed to the refrigerator to get some sustenance"? 

    • A.

      Yes. What's wrong with "John sashayed to the refrigerator to get some sustenance"?

    • B.

      I used a thesaurus, but I only picked words that had the right feel and connotation.

    • C.

      No, I did not use a thesaurus.

    Correct Answer
    B. I used a thesaurus, but I only picked words that had the right feel and connotation.
    Explanation
    A thesaurus can be a powerful tool, but you have to make sure you don't use words that are out of place. You also have to make sure that you get the connotations right. A thesaurus will list words like "amble," "mosey," and "sashay" as synonyms for "walk," but each of those words suggests a different kind of walk.

    Rate this question:

  • 29. 

    Why is it critical to have a distinct voice for your narrator or protagonist?

    • A.

      To fill the requirement of genre conventions

    • B.

      To ensure the book's success in sales 

    • C.

      To differentiate your manuscript from others

    • D.

      To align with modern trends in literature

    Correct Answer
    C. To differentiate your manuscript from others
    Explanation
    A unique and distinct narrative voice helps to set a manuscript apart in a crowded market, offering a fresh perspective and a memorable reading experience. This individuality can be a significant factor in catching the attention of agents and publishers.

    Rate this question:

  • 30. 

    Do you overuse obscenities?  (If any of your sentences have 2+ obscenities, the answer is yes). 

    • A.

      No.

    • B.

      Yes.

    • C.

      I'm a US Marine (minus two!)

    Correct Answer
    A. No.
    Explanation
    Like aspirins, obscenities are effective in small doses but can cause nausea and brain damage in large doses. Sorry, USMC!

    Rate this question:

  • 31. 

    What narrative mistake can make a novel manuscript seem amateurish?

    • A.

      Use of active voice

    • B.

      Complex character motivations

    • C.

      Shifting point of view without clear transitions

    • D.

      Dialogue that drives the plot

    Correct Answer
    C. Shifting point of view without clear transitions
    Explanation
    Frequent or unclear shifts in point of view can confuse readers and disrupt the flow of the narrative, making the manuscript seem unpolished and difficult to follow.

    Rate this question:

  • 32. 

    How can pacing affect a novel's reception by readers and publishers?

    • A.

      Slow pacing is preferred to build suspense

    • B.

      Consistently fast pacing keeps readers engaged 

    • C.

      Varied pacing tailored to the story's needs

    • D.

      Pacing has no significant impact on a novel's reception

    Correct Answer
    C. Varied pacing tailored to the story's needs
    Explanation
    Effective pacing that varies according to the narrative's demands can significantly enhance a novel's engagement level, keeping readers interested without overwhelming them or dragging the story.

    Rate this question:

Quiz Review Timeline +

Our quizzes are rigorously reviewed, monitored and continuously updated by our expert board to maintain accuracy, relevance, and timeliness.

  • Current Version
  • May 26, 2024
    Quiz Edited by
    ProProfs Editorial Team
  • Oct 24, 2008
    Quiz Created by
    Superheronation
Back to Top Back to top
Advertisement
×

Wait!
Here's an interesting quiz for you.

We have other quizzes matching your interest.